Oregon Legislative Week in Review, Feb 2-6

The second full week of the Oregon Legislature began on Monday and there was one word you heard from many of the insiders describing the pace of the first week: “Fast!”  About 1,500 bills have been introduced, and many are scheduled for hearings in the coming days and weeks. 

A Senate Committee has already passed out a controversial bill aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions on a party-line vote.  This week a Joint Committee on Health Insurance Transition will hold its first public hearing on Senate Bill 1, which would abolish Cover Oregon, the semi-independent agency, and moves its functions into the Department of Consumer and Business Services.

Credit Union Bills

Two of our bills were introduced last week.  One in the Oregon House and one in the Oregon Senate.  Neither bill has yet been referred to committee.

House Bill (HB) 2893 was introduced by Rep. John Davis (R-Wilsonville), Rep. Tobias Read (D-Beaverton) and Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer (D-Portland).  The bill will allow Oregon financial institutions to offer prize-linked savings programs.  The bill exempts savings promotion raffles from the definition of “gambling.”

Senate Bill (SB) 582 was introduced as a committee bill in the Senate Business and Transportation Committee as a courtesy to the Northwest Credit Union Association.  Senator Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) was instrumental in assisting us with getting this bill introduced. This bill makes four changes to the Oregon Credit Union Act:

  1. Board Stipends – Allows Oregon credit unions the option to provide reasonable compensation to their directors.
  2. Membership – Amends state law to remove share account requirement on membership.
  3. Membership – Removes Oregon statute which requires any credit union that serves state employees to include foster parents in its field of membership. Replace this requirement with a definitional change that would include foster parents and legally appointed guardians in the definition of relatives eligible for membership.
  4. Supervision & Regulation – Removes the requirement that the DCBS approve new branches.

Other Bills We’re Tracking

HB2637 – The bill is related to the advertising of mortgage-related services and provides that material misrepresentations in commercial communications about mortgage credit products constitutes unlawful trade practice.  NWCUA provided testimony on the current state and federal regulations that oversee mortgage products.  We are currently working with the Rep. Lively, who introduced the bill, on possible language that we can all agree on.

HB2415 – This bill requires financial institution or credit union to respond to demand from Oregon Health Authority or Department of Human Services for moneys deposited to credit of deceased depositor or member by disclosing amount on deposit for each account in which deceased depositor or member held ownership interest and name and address of any person that also held ownership interest in each account.  We are currently working with the State on an amendment to the bill and it will be heard in the House Business Committee this Wednesday.

HB2663 – This bill requires financial institutions to permit individuals convicted of a crime access to banking and financial services.  The bill was referred to the House Consumer Protection Committee.

Workforce Bills – The Democrats have introduced a package of bills they are calling a “Fair Shot for All.”  A coalition group is promoting policy solutions to create economic opportunities for working families and recommending these priorities:

  • Raising the minimum wage;
  • Ensuring all Oregonians earn paid sick days;
  • Ending profiling;
  • Providing a method for people to save for retirement; and
  • Creating job opportunities for people with prior convictions and arrests. 

Senate Bill (SB464) and House Bill (HB2005) have been introduced that require mandatory employer-provided paid sick leave. Both of these bills require every employer, no matter the size, to provide 56 hours -7 days – of paid sick leave time per year.  In addition, HB2009 increases the Oregon minimum wage rate in graduated steps to $15 per hour by 2018.

Joint Committee on Implementing Measure 91 – At least 16 marijuana-related bills were introduced in the Oregon legislature.  Some of the bills change the marijuana legalization measure passed by Oregon voters and some are proposed to limit how many medical marijuana patients a doctor can see.  It is clear that “pot” will be a big issue in the Oregon Legislature this year.  We will be following the hearings closely to offer advice and assistance on the issue of marijuana and banking that our friends in Washington have learned.

Credit Union Day at the Capitol

Join us!  On Tuesday, March 31, we will be holding our annual Credit Union Day at the Capitol in Salem.  Our goal is for every legislator to receive a visit from a credit union constituent that day.  The event is free and provides a great experience for both experienced and new credit union staff members.

If our state legislators don’t see or hear about the great things you’re doing for your members and our communities, they won’t get an accurate sense of the credit union difference and our unique, cooperative structure. 

Come help us spread the word about how credit unions are different. Register today!

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Advocacy News, NWCUA.